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Monday, March 10, 2014

Rose Philippine Duchesne: A Profile Carved in Hope

copyright 1988 - Elizabeth Sherman, R.S.C.J

Last Saturday, I attended a Day of Reflection hosted at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. The  theme for the Day of Reflection was Spirituality and the Resilient Woman.  Dr. Nancy Kehoe, R.S.C.J. facilitated a discussion around the topic Women of Prayer. She asked each participant what we hoped to get out of the day and as we went around the room the answers were varied.  At one point we discussed St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and Janet Erskine Stuart, R.S.C.J. (she served as the 6th Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart and this year we honor her by celebrating the centenary of her death).  All three of these women embody a deep sense of tenacity and resiliency.  

Each attendee received a copy of the book Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ A COLLECTION to take home. So today as I perused the book, I came across the following excerpt written by the granddaughter of Indian chief Rondon who was decorated by the governments of the United States and Brazil for his contribution to the Indians of Brazil.  Below is an edited version of what I read.  

"The history of the last century, and the history of centuries before that, will echo far beyond the 21st century.  Part of this history is the story of a woman of great contrasts but with inner unity. Many who knew her are repelled by her austerity.  Others place her among those who cannot be imitated and for this reason try to forget her.  Others allow themselves to be captivated by this woman who was unconquerable in her Hope and who dared to share her ideals with others.  You, who are full of hope as you begin to read these pages, Come with me and let us discover together "the height, the depth, the breadth, and the length" of this life wholly humble, and happy in the Love of God. ...For to understand someone deeply is to strengthen the bonds of friendship.
Let us read the life of Philippine.Let us contemplate this "profile carved in Hope"in order to learn from her union and conformity with the Heart of the great Missionary of the great Incarnated of the Son of God who chose the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the exploited, and the little ones of the earth:and who made herself one of them. In a world in crisis she found her place of incarnation...
Let us learn with her to contemplate the Heart of Jesus, a Heart broken but unyielding in Hope." 

by Maria Cecilia Rondon Amarante, RSCJ

The above excerpt is taken from the book Philippe Duchesne, RSCJ A COLLECTION Copyright 1988

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